The former chairman of the National Intelligence Council who’s now a visiting professor at GW has some advice for President Barack Obama.
Christopher Kojm sat down for a discussion Thursday with Michael Brown, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, about what has contributed to the demise of national security in the countries highlighted in the NIC’s “Global Trends 2030” report.
A part of a series that focuses on leaders in international development, Kojm offered his own thoughts on how countries can best work together to solve global issues and what role the U.S. president should play.
Here’s what you need to know about what happened:
1. Advice for Obama
Kojm said he would encourage the president to take advantage of the U.S.’s status as a world power to create international partnerships, especially in responding to ISIS.
“We have a remarkable power and influence, and this cannot be addressed without broad international support,” he said. “I think we see the president, certainly in the case of ISIS here seeking to put together a broad coalition of 40 or plus countries together. So coalitions will really matter.”
He added that Obama should concentrate on improving relations with China over the next several years.
“We got lots of problems, lots of issues with China some are quite profound,” he said. “But we also have many areas of commonality and we are finding ways to work together on some questions.”
2. Global trends
The NIC report, “Global Trends 2030,” covered four trends in developing countries. Officials traveled to Beijing, Moscow, Brussels, Singapore and other cities to gather data on individual empowerment, demographics, diffusion of power and growth in the developing world.
“Nobody knows what the world would look like, and we wanted to avoid parochialism and have as broad a perspective as possible in thinking about the future of the international system,” Kojm said.
He said the data showed that 60 percent of the population will live in cities in about 15 years, and urbanization will be an important factor for aid groups to consider as they plan for the future.
Kojm said the report unintentionally has “an added diplomatic benefit.”
“You start a dialogue going with elites around the world about what the future of the world is going to look like and you begin to influence other capitals,” said Kojm
3. “Profound” governmental challenges
Kojm emphasized the importance of strong governance as nations face future dilemmas.
“The challenges governments face – Ebola, proper regulation of information technology, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – collectively, seem to be pretty profound,” he said.
He also mentioned the situations in Spain and Britain where different regions have tried to secede, citing them as examples of the difficulties governments face when trying to exert authority.
4. Lessons in leadership
Kojm included his own experience as a leader in the policy world. He said as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, he made it a point to reach out to senior staffers and listen to what issues concerned them.
“Treat everyone you meet with and work with with dignity,” he said, adding that students shouldn’t ignore any work colleague, no matter his or her status in an organization.